Thursday, 31 May, 2007

Message from Mr. Girish Karnad

It's scandalous

The whole episode at the MS University, Baroda is scandalous at several levels:

1) At a basic level, every citizen of India--whether an artist or not--has the right to express himself.

2) In the present case, the self-expression did not take place in public but within the private domain, and so could not hurt any outsider.

3)The artist in this case was working as a part of an academic course and the person to decide whether he or she was acting in an acceptable manner was his or her supervisor or dean or head of department or the vice-chancellor. It is to guard this tradition that universities are made autonomous bodies. And outside organs, like the police, are forbidden from entering the campus without the express permission from the head.

4) The worst culprit in the present case is the Vice-Chancellor. It is his duty to ensure the safety of his students and staff and to safeguard the smooth funcioning of the university. The VC should have thrown the police out and demanded the release of the student. What he has done in fact is completely irresponsible. Certainly, in my entire life, in my dealings with many universities, I have not seen or heard of such shocking behaviour. The VC should be asked to resign and if he doesn't, sacked for derilection of duty.

This is not a minor episode. It foreshadows developments which could endanger the very basis of our civilization. If we let this go through without opposition, only deluge will follow.

Girish Karnad
14 May 2007

Condemn repression of artists in M.S.University,Vadodara by M.S.Thimmappa Former Vice Chancellor,Bangalore University.

Closure of the exhibition of students paintings in the Fine Arts Department of M.S.University,Baroda by the so called activists and the University authorities is highly condemnable.University is the promoter and torchbearer of freedom of thought and expression.The Vice Chancellor of the university has committed dereliction of his primary
duty.India all through the ages has been nurturing divergence of ideas,faith and actions.The actions of those so called Hindu Activist is truly un-Indian.I express my solidarity and support to the group which is spearheading the protest, let us keep on protesting till the authorities rescind their heinous actions.

Former Vice Chancellor,
Bangalore University.